Immigrants and Nationalists

Ethnic Conflict and Accommodation in Catalonia, the Basque Country, Latvia, and Estonia

By Gershon Shafir

Subjects: Political Science
Paperback : 9780791426746, 279 pages, October 1995
Hardcover : 9780791426739, 279 pages, October 1995

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Table of contents





1. Introduction

Immigrants and Hosts

Hegemonic and Corporate Nationalism

The Contexts and Limits of Hegemonic Nationalism

Immigration and Nationalism: Summary of Propositions

2. Similarities Between the Regions

Distinct Cultures

Level of Development

Internal Migration

3. Hegemonic Nationalism in Catalonia

Hegemony and Autonomy

Immigrant Integration and Language Normalization

4. From Racism to "Primordial Socialism" in the Basque Country

Nationalism Under Combined Development

The Transformations and Contradictions of Contemporary Basque Nationalism and Immigration

5. Baltic Awakening and the Lure of Exclusivity

Unintended Independence

National Flourishing and Convergence

The Soviet Nationalities Policy

Economic Bifurcation

The Popular Fronts and the Politics of Demography

The Movement Toward Independence

Language Laws: Cultural Exclusion and Assimilation

Citizenship Laws: Political Exclusion and Integration

Privatization and Its Ethnic Discontents

6. Conclusion




In this empirical and theoretical study of nationalism, ethnicity, and immigration, the author compares the reception of large numbers of immigrants in Catalonia, the Basque country, Latvia, and Estonia--developed regions that possess distinct cultures and nationalist movements.


Recent years have witnessed a swell of intense opposition to immigration in the developed world. In this empirical and theoretical study of nationalism, ethnicity, immigration, and internationalism, Gershon Shafir examines and compares the reception of large numbers of immigrants to four regions at opposite ends of Europe that are relatively overdeveloped but that at the same time possess distinct cultures and nationalist movements of their own: Catalonia and the Basque Provinces in Spain and the Republics of Latvia and Estonia on the Baltic.

What makes the comparison of these regions illuminating is the divergence, and reversals, in the policies and attitudes adopted by their nationalist movements during the past century. This study shows that immigrants' attitudes toward integration into their host societies cannot explain the divergence in the nationalists' positions toward them. The imbalance between the immigrants' readiness to integrate into their new societies and the measure of the nationalist opposition indicates that the causes of anti-immigrant hostility are usually found among the hosts. Shafir argues that hostility toward immigrants in developed regions is rooted not in the threat of "denationalization" or economic competition but in the danger they pose to the privileges of traditional and modern political elites, who transform regional nationalist sentiments into anti-immigration movements.

Gershon Shafir is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882-1914.


"Shafir has produced a sensitive, analytically astute comparative historical study of ethnic nationalism in two Spanish provinces and the Baltic regions of the former Soviet Union. I think this is a superb study. " — Michael Kimmel, State University of New York, Stony Brook